Examining the Adoption and Use of Graphic Novels as a Learning Resource in Hamilton Schools
Graphic novels have grown in popularity during last 20 years. A growing band of supporters are advocating for graphic novels to be used in both public libraries and schools. However, research into this area in New Zealand is limited. This study investigated the current situation by exploring how Hamilton teachers and school librarians were utilising graphic novels and their experiences during these activities. A qualitative approach of semi-structured interviews with volunteer participants was chosen in order to solicit rich information on the phenomenon. The study found the use of graphic novels in schools was an emerging phenomenon and the format was being used to a limited extent. However, both teachers and librarians felt they were a successful learning tool with many benefits for students. These included increased enthusiasm and engagement from students, in particular boys and reluctant readers, a focus on visual literacy skills, and connections with popular culture. All participants recommended graphic novels have a place in schools in the future, highlighting the potential they have as a legitimate learning resource. This study recommends graphic novels continue to be used in schools or be adopted by those schools without them. It also recommends schools select a wide range of graphic novel genres in order to cater to the needs of the variety of students identified as responding positively to the format.